It was nearly time to leave Paris, but there was time for a quick lunch before heading to the airport. For that meal, I'd heard good things about a place called Chez Michel and I was keen to give it a go. These “good things” I'd heard were related to the menu they have.
The way it works at Chez Michel is that there's a three-course menu for around 36 euros. That gives you the choice from five or six options for each meal. But there's a little something called the supplement menu. Now, at most places a supplement menu will usually be something like “get a nicer cut of meat for 5 euros” or “get some cheese before dessert for 10 euros”. But at Chez Michel, the supplement menu is a ticket into some VERY interesting things. So most people will get the set menu, but exchange every course for something on the supplements board. So they charge you for both the set menu and the supplement, which makes sense but seems to cause confusion with some people.
The other thing with the supplements board is that the stuff on there is anything but ordinary. Depending on the season, you may be able to choose from a selection of wild game dishes. I've even heard that sometimes they have super-rare baby eels. But what this means for the tourist with only basic French is that you can be stabbing in the dark at these bizarre/uncommon names on the menu. So point and hope is a good strategy.
Take our meal for example.
We kick off with a foie gras and truffle sandwich (+20e) and frogs legs with mushrooms (+15). The truffle sandwich is a big slice of bread, covered in a thick covering of foie gras and then burried beneath a sheet of truffles. Surprise, surprise... it was good. The frogs legs (no, I had no idea I was ordering them) were also excellent, sitting in a bath of garlic and parsley.
At this point an American girl comes in and takes the table next to ours, tucking her luggage under the seat. She too has heard about this place and came straight from the train station to the restaurant for lunch.
For the mains, my dining companion picked first and went for the lobster (because it was the only thing he understood on the menu) (+30). There was no way that could have been bad after they brought out a huge and live lobster to show it. Yes, he got the entire lobster. Bastard. Utter bastard. Because it was good, utterly good.
I took a stab and ended up with what I believe was an entire roast partridge (+20), sitting proudly atop potatoes and mushrooms. It wasn't an entire lobster but damn it was good. And I was damn full, with dessert still to come.
The American girl has also gone for the foie gras and truffle sandwich and the partridge. She only makes it through half of the bird before giving up and admitting defeat.
At this point part of me wanted to know what other mains we'd missed out on, but another part of me didn't want to know for fear of cancelling the rest of the trip to just eat here every day.
For dessert, I didn't go for a supplement, opting for the Paris-Brest-Paris dessert, which I believe is a pastry filled with nut cream that was created to celebrate a bike race that occurred some time ago. The fellow diner went for a petit suisse, which was pretty much a good looking strawberries and cream.
All up, an extremely memorable meal at tremendous value.